Polar Art Collection
The United Kingdom's Polar Art Heritage - Enhancing documentation and access to the art collections at the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge
During 2007-2008, this AHRC-funded project aimed to locate, document and conserve the Institute's polar art holdings, with the broad goal of extending the knowledge value of a major part of the Museum's collections.
The project's target was to identify and catalogue 2,000 works on paper, canvas and board, dating from the late eighteenth century to the present, close to 80% of the collection. The project database exceeds this aim, with nearly 2,500 artworks now completed. Digital imagery for all individual items is available, for a range of online and publishing uses.
The art collections represent a variety of responses to the polar regions: from British voyages to the Arctic during the nineteenth-century, the Heroic Age of exploration in Antarctica, through to the work of contemporary artists. Our collection features work by explorers such as Edward Lawton Moss, Graham Gore, Edward Adams, George Marston, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, and modern work by David Smith, Edward Seago, Sir Wally Herbert, Jörg Schmeisser and Keith Shackleton. Our holdings also include the UK's largest collection of sketches and watercolours by Edward Adrian Wilson, zoologist and surgeon, who accompanied Scott on both the Discovery and Terra Nova expeditions to Antarctica.
For more information on a selection of our artists, see Ten Great British Polar Artists.
Polar Art Exhibitions and the Polar Museum
The AHRC project provided the stimulus for a new programme of polar art displays, curated by Dr Huw Lewis-Jones. During this period the Institute held 13 new temporary exhibitions, highlighting some of the artists represented in our art collections, redisplaying related historic material, archival and museum objects, acquiring the work of established fine artists, and bringing forward an emerging generation of young artists working in the polar regions.
Integration of artworks into planning for the new Museum, due for total redevelopment then re-opening in 2010, will enhance the interpretation of polar history for a general public, and significantly improve the Institute's ability to act as a research point for art historical and artistic approaches to the polar regions. Read more about Transforming the Polar Museum.
The catalogue has been compiled by Dr Lewis-Jones. Further details on any item on the collection may be had on application to the Keeper of Collections at the Institute. For details of public and research access please see the main Museum page of the website. For rights and images for publication, contact the Picture Library.
Data in this catalogue was last updated on Wednesday, 1st February 2017.